Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Latest Bald Trip & A Double Shot Of Videos
With work back into full swing, my time for bouldering is considerably shorter lately. Since I last posted, I've made it out to some local boulders a couple of times and even found some new boulders in the Jocassee Gorges that might have some good routes on them...but the trip that sticks out to me is the trip to the Bald last Friday. My schedule allows me to hit the Bald all day on Fridays, and I plan on doing that as much as I can before the end of the season...I'm psyched! On my previous trip to the Bald, I was working St Peter V4 with the Matts and felt like I could link through the hard section for the send, so that was my project for the day. I started out by running into a couple of guys in the parking lot and walking in with Ron from Fox Guides. We stopped at St Peter first and jumped on it before I was really warmed up...he had no problems cruising the route, but I felt the need to hit some easier problems first and then give it my all for the send. So I headed over to the Family Boulder, while Ron went off on his circuit, and climbed a ton of great warm ups...all of the routes on this boulder are not listed in the guide, but they are listed towards the bottom of this page. With 12 V0-V2 routes, this may be one of the best beginner/warmup boulders in the entire field. After that, I headed back to St Peter and put a few more tries on it before the other guy I ran into in the parking lot showed up...I think his name was Matt (I'm the worst with names, sorry if you read this and I got it wrong). Matt took a couple of tries to send the route and then I ended up taking another couple of tries myself before I found myself past the crux and working the jugs up to the top out. Besides New Jedi Mind Tricks, a proud V3/4 line I recently put up in Jedi, this is the hardest route I've climbed in a long time. You can see the line, which climbs the tall prow, in the picture above.
From there I decided to work on one of my other long term goals at the Bald...climb all of the easy (V0-V2) routes in the entire place. Going into this visit, I only had 6 V2's and 1 V1 left to finish up the 135 or so easy routes in the West Side boulders. So I headed to each one of these routes in hopes of finishing this goal up today also. First I hit Bruce Lee over at the Cave/Ladder boulders and sent it after a few tries...odd but pretty fun problem. Then I headed out to a boulder I hadn't been to before, a rarity for me at the Bald, called the Cornerstone Boulder. Below is a shot of the boulder with the cliff in the background. I sent the 4 fun routes on that boulder pretty quick; Top Shelf V1, Spasm Chasm V2, Old Man Route V2 & Stepping Stone V3. I really enjoyed Old Man Route...pretty fitting based on how I feel lately:)
From here I headed down to the Terraces to work on Zwilling and the Unknown V2 on the Henkels boulder. Zwilling took me a couple of tries, but I thought it was a great exciting route. Just enough to hold on to, but not enough to make it feel super safe while looking back at the fall you could take into the mini-chasm. I think this was my 2nd favorite route of the day. After working the V2 on Henkels for a few tries, I realized it wasn't going to go and I was running out of juice for the day. On my way back to the car, I passed by a route in the Cluster that George was working last time we were up here, Sun Wall V3, and thought I'd spend the last of my energy trying to send it. Surprisingly, I sent the route on the 3rd try, and felt pretty content to wrap up my day with that send. A shot of Sun Wall is below.
I've been to the Bald hundreds of times in the last 10 years or so. The first visits were always exciting and filled with wonder at the amount, variety and quality of the routes. But after a while the luster wears off and the visits are less exciting. I was happy that this felt like one of those first days! There were very few people in the boulders, it was so pleasant to be able to hear the sounds of nature and the wind blow without it being drowned out by the masses. I'm stoked to get back and finish the other 2 V2's in the West and then turn my attention to the East Side and the 30 or so easy routes I have left to do over there.
On another note...videos
There are 2 videos I've been really diggin lately and so I wanted to pass them on to those that might not of seen them yet.
The first is from SC's native son George Evans...check out Doug killing it at the Bald!
And the other one is of one of my all time favorite boulderfields...Lilly in the Obed. Check out this beauty from Jimmy Webb!